Conservatives celebrated Tuesday as the United States Supreme Court ruled to allow federal officials to detain and deport illegal immigrants after they have served their time in the U.S., reported the LA Times.
This went against the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ previous ruling that if ICE did not detain the illegal immigrant immediately, they would be exempt from being detained or deported. The decision Tuesday was 5-4 in favor of the Trump Administration.
The Trump administration had argued that the government has the authority to detain immigrants as they await deportation, even if they are arrested by immigration authorities years after serving their sentences. The Supreme Court backed that stance.
Judge Samuel Alito gave the majority opinion to the court. Alito wrote that in the past, the court has “held time and time again, an official’s crucial duties are better carried out late than never.”
He also rejected the argument from lawyers representing the immigrants involved in the case that they are subject to mandatory detention only if they are arrested “on the day he walks out of jail,” giving the example that state and local officials “sometimes rebuff the government’s request that they give notice when a criminal alien will be released,” according to the Washington Examiner.
The case mainly surrounded the stories of two immigrants, Mony Preap and Bassam Yusuf Khoury, who are both ‘lawful permanent residents’ of the US. Preap and Khoury were both convicted of crimes in the United States and subsequently both served prison sentences. After time served, the men were released but not apprehended by ICE officials. Years later, both men were detained for removal proceedings.
Current US law states that the Department of Homeland Security can detain immigrants convicted of certain crimes “when the alien is released” from criminal custody.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made its ruling in 2016 that gave immigrants a pass if they weren’t immediately taken into custody.
The case came shortly after Justice Brett Kavanaugh took his seat on the Supreme Court in October of 2018. He speculated about limits and loopholes concerning the current statute, wondering if “we should be putting in a time limit” on taking immigrants into custody.
The ACLU Deputy Legal Director was upset after the ruling, stating, “For two terms in a row now, the Supreme Court has endorsed the most extreme interpretation of immigration detention statutes.”
She claimed that they were “allowing mass incarceration of people without any hearing, simply because they are defending themselves against a deportation charge. We will continue to fight the gross overuse of detention in the immigration system.”